Author: Alicia "Kamitose" Guy
Summary: Emma Frost needs to know if there is anything left of Jubilee worth saving. (Just after issue 6 of X-Men: Curse of the Mutants)
Rating:R, for strong language and violence.
Disclaimer: None of the characters in this piece of fiction belong to me. They belong to Marvel.
Distribution: As long as I am credited, and as long as you ask (and let me know once it's posted) then I don't care where it's distributed. BUT you have to ask.
Author's Note: This is my first ever X-men fanfiction.
"I've got my head, but my head is unraveling
Can't keep control, can't keep track of where it's traveling."
The Perfect Drug ~ Nine Inch Nails
It didn't sit right with him.
"Dearest, don't hide it from me, I am a psychic after all." Emma said not even looking up from the window overlooking Utopia.
Scott's lips formed a hard line as his forehead crinkled in thought. "It's just…" He sighed, running his fingers through his hair. "I know she's in a dark place right now, but something you said bothered me."
"Did it now?" Emma said turning to her lover, an eyebrow raised in curiosity.
"You don't think we can help Jubilee, and that bothers me. She was one of your students." He said meeting her gaze.
Emma crossed the room to Scott's desk and sat gingerly on the edge. "Scott, dear, it's because she was one of my students that I can tell something is seriously wrong. It rolls off her in waves. I don't need to read her mind to tell something is off."
Pushing back his chair as he stood, Scott walked toward the monitor on the wall, watching as Jubilee paced in her cell. "It may be a good idea for you to do just that." He said placing his hands behind his back.
"Are you suggesting I enter Jubilee's mind? I highly doubt she'd enjoy that; you know how she is normally. No telling how she would react now." She cocked her head to the side, curious to see where Scott was going with this.
Scott turned to face Emma, a look of dead seriousness upon his face. "Let it piss her off. If you are so certain she can't be saved, then I want you to double check. I want you to go inside her head and see if there is anything left of who she was. But I don't want you writing her off before we know for sure. You were her mentor, so be there for her."
"Be her conscience?"
"Something like that."
Emma gave a knowing smile. "Whatever you think is best, dear, but only because you asked so nicely." She came down from his desk and started for the door. "What is your recommended course of action, then?"
"She'll have to sleep eventually." He remarked, returning his gaze back to the monitor.
Jubilee sat in a crumpled heap in the center of her cell, vacantly staring at the small crack she had made in the glass. Her shoulder was a bit sore, but it was to be expected after ramming into the glass over and over in an attempt to break free. She hated it here. She hated how clinical and clean the room and its surroundings were. She hated the bright lights that constantly shone on her. And more than anything, she hated the gnawing feeling in her stomach telling her she should feed.
It was so quiet after the last of the living left the room hours ago, Logan having eventually retired to his room for some much needed sleep. It was only Jubilee left alone to her thoughts, her many thoughts racing a million miles through her head. It was terribly exhausting.
Her eyelids began to betray her, heavily falling against her wishes. She shook her head. "No, no time for sleep. I need to get out of here."
She forced herself to her feet, groggily making her way to the front of the cell. Resting her head against the glass, she ran her clawed finger along the crack she had created, gingerly tracing its outline. An uneasy smile crept across her pale face as her nail reached the end of the crack.
Suddenly, she reeled her arm back and in one angry motion slammed her fist into the center of the crack, webs of smaller fractures spreading from the epicenter.
Upon further observation, she noted a slight bit of blood on the glass. She cocked her head to the side as she examined her hand, blood was pooling on several of her knuckles from where they had connected with the glass. "Heh." She exhaled, shrugging nonchalantly.
She was ready to attempt again, but the call of sleep was becoming louder than the call of freedom. Sleep would claim her where she stood if she didn't make her way to the bed she was provided with. Reluctantly, she began to make her way across the room that was currently her "home".
"Welcome back…" She grumbled bitterly as she climbed into the bed, allowing sleep to finally take over her weary head, completely unaware of the two X-Men waiting outside the room.
Scott gave a sideways glance to Emma before he entered the security code on the panel next to the door. The doors opened and bright light poured into the hallway where they stood. He looked on as Emma entered the large room that housed smaller containment units for more… troublesome mutants, or in this case vampires.
Emma pulled up a chair in front of Jubilee's cell and stared intently on the sleeping girl inside.
"Are you ready, Emma?" Scott asked quietly, placing a hand on Emma's shoulder.
Emma glanced up at Scott. ~Do not speak, dearest, not even a whisper. Vampires have very sensitive hearing and I wouldn't want to wake her before we can even begin.~
Scott silently acknowledged her psychic advice as he prepared to stand watch.
~When I enter her mind, I will need a disguise; if I enter as myself she will not take kindly to that. And I can't say that I'd blame her. My plan is to enter her mind under the guise of herself… from a more innocent time. Perhaps from just before she joined with the other students at the Massachusetts Academy.~
Scott nodded in agreement. He would not be able to tell what was going on once Emma had entered Jubilee's mind, and despite it being his idea in the first place, he was certainly nervous. He didn't want to think that Emma was possibly correct in her original assessment of the former X-Man.
Emma closed her eyes, her brow furrowed in concentration.
Jubilee walked down the quiet San Francisco streets. Only small smatterings of people were out this late. She didn't look at them, fearing that acknowledging their existence would cause her to think about the precious blood their veins carried. Hunger being the powerful motivator it was, Jubilee pressed on, her eyes focused on her feet as she walked.
"Well, don'tchu look all grumpy today." A young voice called out from behind.
Jubilee stopped dead in her tracks. That voice, she was well acquainted with that voice. Turning slowly, Jubilee found herself staring at the silhouette of a young girl in an oversized coat.
The shadow stepped into the light from the nearest lamppost. As the light washed over her, Jubilee saw a younger visage of herself smiling at her.
Jubilee stepped back, trying to gauge the situation. She narrowed her red eyes and scoffed. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me! So now on top of everything else, I'm going crazy, too. Great! Just… great!" Turning around, she threw her hands in the air in obvious exasperation.
People continued to walk past the two girls, keeping to themselves.
The younger girl smirked at Jubilee. "Not that ya weren't a li'l crazy before. Say, ya look a li'l pale… feelin' alright?" She said tilting her head to the side playfully.
Jubilee crossed her arms and glared at her younger self. "Go away, little delusion." She turned to walk off.
The young girl made a quick jog to catch up to Jubilee. "Now, now, like is that anyway to treat an ol' friend? Jus' consider me your conscience… you'll be needin' me." She smiled a mischievous grin.
"I must be some kind of hacky sack for the fates to kick around. There is no other possibility! Is that it fates? Am I your damn hacky sack to kick around?" Jubilee ignored the girl's comments, instead venting her frustrations aloud.
The younger Jubilee let out a loud laugh. "Yer crazier than I thought if you think they'll listen to you."
Jubilee's features bunched up into an unwelcoming scowl as she quickened her pace, trying to lose the little gnat that had taken to following her around. She walked for what felt like forever, the constant yammering of her forsaken youth driving her further on. Her efforts to block out all but the sidewalk beneath her feet seemed a wasted endeavor.
And then, for no rational reason, aside from a nagging discomfort, Jubilee stopped. Something was off. Different. Something had changed but she was almost afraid to look up and see what it was.
The voice from beside her confirmed her suspicions. "Man o' man! San Francisco sure has been gettin' colder lately. I can see my breath!" The younger Jubilee said, rubbing her hands together for warmth.
Curiosity getting the better of her, Jubilee looked up and took in her surroundings. Gone were the streets lined with lampposts. Gone were the cars and the people who drove them. Gone were the buildings and flashing neon signs. Everything was quiet here. Quiet and white and lined with snow; pristine white snow that covered the hills before her.
She wasn't in San Francisco anymore, let alone anything resembling the California she knew and loved.
The young girl ran ahead of Jubilee, arms outstretched like wings. Laughter echoed through the quiet night air. "Don'tcha just love winter? Skiing, snowboarding, avoidin' the hell out o' Omega Red…"
Jubilee's brow furrowed in annoyance. "Can you, for one moment, just shut up? Were you always this annoying?" She snapped at her young companion.
The younger Jubilee turned to look at her, an impish grin lighting up her childish face. "Were you always this broody?"
Jubilee heaved an exasperated sigh as she ignored the girl, choosing to walk past her instead. She wasn't sure what was going on but she needed some quiet time to think. She just needed to get away. Away from the X-Men, away from San Francisco, away from the ants… people who would lead her to temptation. Away, away, away…
She was so wrapped up in thought that she hadn't noticed her little doppelganger had caught up to her. "Whatcha thinkin' 'bout? Thinkin' about how much yer life sucks now?"
Jubilee merely shoved the young girl in the snow and kept walking.
The young girl stood up and dusted the snow off of herself. Looking beside her at the snow piled high, she reached down and packed a nice big snow ball. She smiled a devious smile to herself and then chucked the snow ball at Jubilee, managing to hit her square in the back of the neck.
Jubilee jerked around suddenly to face her tormentor, incensed at the constant badgering.
"WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?" She screamed, her voice tearing through the air, echoing through a landscape that had once more changed. The rolling hills of snow dissolved revealing planes of cracked earth and sand. The night sky suddenly gave way to bright light with the Australian sun beating down on the two girls. Despite the amulet that protected her from the harmful rays of the sun, Jubilee instinctively threw her arms over her head to shield herself. After a moment she lowered them, confused as to why everything kept changing on her. She looked at the girl again.
"How are you doing this?"
The girl raised her hands and shrugged. "You tell me."
Jubilee lowered her head. This place brought back so many memories. It was after all where she first met Logan. She could even make out the two large planks arranged in the shape of an "X" in the distance where Logan was crucified. This wasn't right. She squeezed her eyes shut tight as she attempted to gather her thoughts. They were fragmented, broken. Nothing made sense anymore, least of all this place. A foreign wind began to blow the sand around a bit. She finally brought herself to look at the young girl again. "Why are you here? Why are you tormenting me?"
"I was wonderin' if there was any of me left in you. I suppose it was too much to ask for." She responded, placing her hands behind her back as she frowned. Her shoulders slumped in apparent defeat.
"Look!" Jubilee said, pounding her hand to her chest, anger rising from her belly. "I didn't ask for this! I didn't ask to become this…this thing!"
The young girl narrowed her eyes. She knew from what she gleaned from Jubilee that this wasn't entirely the case. "Liar! Ya went to Xarus all on yer own and you were totally grateful for the 'gift' he gave ya! So why so upset now? Isn't this whatcha wanted? To have powers again?"
"It wasn't what I thought. Because I didn't think." Jubilee responded, lowering her head, her gaze fixed on her hands. "The rush of it all, the high, it's wearing off. Things get clearer and I realize that I've fucked up. Me."
The young girl was silent for what seemed to be an eternity. "Another member of Generation X lost…" She said looking away.
Jubilee's head snapped up, her eyes burning furiously. That wasn't her thought, her line of consciousness… this was someone else. Someone in her head. Digging, stalling, prying their nose where it didn't belong.
"You… GET OUT!" Jubilee roared. "GET OUTTA MY HEAD, EMMA! I KNOW IT'S YOU!"
"Young Jubilee" stood back. She didn't understand how this could have happened. She was a powerful telepath; she had masked it very well. How did she know? "Yer wrong! I am you!"
The winds now howled with fury. Emma kept the guise up while trying to suppress the wind, trying to maintain control, but she could only do so much. "Yer angry, I know!" She cried out. "Angry with yourself, angry at the world! Angry at the X-Men. But ya need to calm down!"
Jubilee clenched her fists and her teeth, her fangs glistening under the hot Australian sun. "I'll calm down when you're dead."
"You don't mean that."
"Don't I now?" Jubilee growled, running at the "child", claw like nails ready to rake across her skin, only to watch as the child vanished before she could get there. "What…" Jubilee looked around frantically. The winds quieted down as she listened for her intended victim. She picked up a scent in the calmed winds and turned slowly, ready to pounce. She was not prepared for the face she would end up seeing as she turned around…
That was a memory that Jubilee found she could not shake, a vision of a future that almost was. It frightened and enraged Jubilee all at once. If Emma thought she could use Abscissa to get to Jubilee, she was more right that she would have liked. She didn't figure how unpredictable Jubilee had become. Jubilee pushed Abscissa away with brute force. "NO!"
Abscissa swung back at Jubilee sending her careening toward the edge of a near-by precipice. Not wanting Jubilee to fall deep into the depths of her own mind, Emma flung the chain attached to the Abscissa helmet towards Jubilee. It wrapped around Jubilee's wrist and kept her from plummeting to the abyss below.
Jubilee clung to the edge of the precipice, her nails digging into the ground. She grunted as she pulled herself up enough to see over the edge. Abscissa stared at her, or at least she appeared to be. It was impossible to tell with that mask on her face. Jubilee looked at the chain around her wrist and then back to Abscissa. A wicked grin graced Jubilee's face.
She let go of the cliff side allowing herself plummet down the rock wall, the false Abscissa in tow. Just as Abscissa reached the edge of the precipice, Jubilee flew up, yanking her off the ground, both women suspended in the air. Abscissa grasped desperately to the chain attached to her helmet so that she wouldn't fall.
"You wanna try that again, bitch?" She warranted no response as she watched the woman struggle beneath her.
Emma was alarmed by how much mastery Jubilee was displaying as a psychic defense. Had she and Xavier honed the girl's psychic defenses better than they had known? She gripped the chain tight as she watched Jubilee anxiously.
Jubilee raised both hands and summoned two pillars of earth, one beneath herself and one beneath the disguised Emma. "You don't get to play games with me, Emma."
Now that she was once more on solid ground, Emma changed her guise from Abscissa to Jubilee once more, only an older version before; from her years with Generation X. "I don't know what yer talkin' about!" She yelled back to the real Jubilee.
"Who's the liar, now?" Jubilee shouted, the vitriol oozing from her voice.
The imposter scowled. "This isn't what I wanted."
"And what were you hoping for, Emma? For me to come out of this all sunshine and roses? That won't work, especially considering sunshine has a tendency to fucking KILL me!" Jubilee flew down to the lower platform and picked Emma up.
"Get out of my head." Jubilee growled.
Jubilee tossed the imposter back to the mainland and then flew down in front of her. The ground trembled but this time it wasn't Jubilee doing it, it was Emma. Jubilee grew more enraged.
"Stop going all Inception in my head! This is MY playground. I make the rules!" Jubilee yelled. The ground ceased it's trembling momentarily, only to grow more furious once it resumed.
"You're out of control, Jubilee. You need to calm down." Emma said dropping her disguise completely.
"You enter my head, start messing with my mind, and now you expect me to calm down?" Jubilee let out a half crazed laugh as the entire landscape seemed to fold in on itself and rearrange into a new place all together. Trees, grass and shrubbery sprung forth from the dry cracked ground. The ground trembled as a large, old brick building pushed its way up through the earth. "Oh no, Emma, I don't think so."
Emma looked around, taking in her surroundings. The Massachusetts Academy. Jubilee was playing her game right back. Emma had underestimated her former student. She would have been proud if circumstances were different. As it stood, her ability to fight a psychic attack was… disconcerting at best and frightening at worst.
Emma looked back to where Jubilee was and found she was gone. She looked all around but saw no glimpse. But she could hear her, in the trees, the bushes, moving around her in circles, like a predator hunting its prey.
"Have you ever been so hungry that you feel like you're losing your mind?"
Emma looked in the direction Jubilee's voice came from, directly above her, and quickly dove out of the way as Jubilee came crashing through the trees at her. As Emma scrambled to her feet she got a good look at Jubilee. Any semblance of sanity, of humanity seemed gone from her bright red eyes, having been replaced by hunger and anger.
Jubilee snarled at her. "You should have left when I asked you the first time."
Emma shook her head. "You should have quit while you were ahead."
"Wrong move, Barbie." Jubilee said smirking wickedly as she charged at Emma once again.
Emma dodged to the side as Jubilee charged past her. "Now that's just insulting."
Jubilee swiftly spun around to face Emma. "So, I'm just another one of your failures…"
Emma stared at her former student. "I'm hoping that isn't the case. But I feel inclined to agree with you this time." She turned to walk off.
Jubilee's eyes narrowed and she charged again, this time grabbing Emma from behind. "I may be one of your failures…" She paused as Emma struggled in her grasp. "But I outlived my previous master and I will outlive you."
"Seeing as you are now immortal…" Emma started, she had under estimated Jubilee's new found strength.
"And yet you missed my point entirely." Jubilee explained, baring her fangs. "You'll be leavin' one way or another." She drove her teeth into Emma's throat and began to drain the blood from her.
Emma winced in pain, feeling herself weaken. She had to do something, anything to get Jubilee to stop. "Is this how you did it? Is this how you turned Logan? Like a coward? Unable to face him as you stabbed him in the back?"
Jubilee abruptly stopped and retracted her fangs from Emma's throat. "I…" She stared wide-eyed at Emma. "Oh my God…" She reeled back, a far away look in her eyes. "I can't do this…" Jubilee turned on her heel and took off into the forest.
Emma shook her head and took off after her, but as she ran she noticed the forest began to change. The trees fell, melting into the ground, the sky and bushes were replaced by corridors of gray. Endless corridors of gray. Emma tried desperately to keep up with the fleeing girl.
"JUBILEE!" She cried out, her throat raw from the earlier attack. Her voice echoed off the walls.
Emma was met with silence. The entire place seemed wrought with confusion, anger, fear, and loneliness. It permeated the very walls.
"Jubilee!" She yelled again, this time not nearly as loud. She was startled when the wall suddenly opened beside her, revealing a room that was not there before.
Peering into the room, Emma saw it was filled with mirrors. The ceiling, the walls, even the floor, comprised of nothing but mirrors. In the center of the room was Jubilee, in her white med bay clothes, sitting cross-legged facing the wall opposite of Emma. Of course, she cast no reflection, but Emma certainly did.
"Come in." Jubilee said calmly, almost too calmly.
"Jubilee, what is this?" Emma said looking around at all the reflections. Emma then noticed that Jubilee was surrounded by photographs, scattered around her. She recognized some of the people in the photos, Everett and Angelo among them.
Jubilee was quiet for a moment. "Tell me, Emma, since you seem to be able to access my memories, why don't you access the one that shows just how depressed I was after losing my powers. How terribly alone I was… an outcast among outcasts. Read that."
Emma didn't need to see it, she could feel it. The mirrors rattled slightly with the anger, the loneliness and emptiness Jubilee had felt. "Jubilee, we were only trying to help you…"
Jubilee narrowed her eyes, a dark smile creeping across her face. "I haven't even shown you the best part yet."
Emma raised an eyebrow. "And what would that be?"
"My turning." She said, her voice uneven but the smile still present, once again showing off her razor sharp teeth.
Emma shook her head. "We've done the research dear, we know what happens."
Jubilee let out a quick, sharp laugh. "Oh, but this is different. You see, because I was a victim of the blood bombing, my siring process was much, much different. Much more painful and far quicker. The draining part was not the problem, in fact, it felt quite good… as though all my problems were being drained from me, ounce by precious ounce. No, the problem was after that… most people at that point die, the transformation then taking place over a three day slumber. Not me, no, I had to be special. I didn't get the luxury of sleep. As Xarus neared the end, the transformation began and the process of dying and changing at the same time is quite painful and horrifying. And you realize 'What have I done? My God, I'm dying!' but it doesn't matter. When it was all over, when the aching finally subsided, I felt so good... like a god in my new body, that I forgot how bad it was. But now… now I remember it vividly, clearly. You'll remember it, too."
Jubilee waved her hand absentmindedly and the mirrors replayed her turning, soaking the whole place in it, the anguish and fear permeating every inch of the room. Emma began to feel guilty, knowing that slowly she was losing another team of youngsters she helped prepare. She gazed at the reflection below her… the one part of the room that didn't reflect the past.
"You want to understand me, Emma, then look at it."
Emma did not.
"LOOK AT IT!" Jubilee screamed, and in response the mirrors shattered revealing tattered gray walls behind them. Jubilee's shoulders slumped and she buried her face in her hands.
Emma quietly watched the broken girl before her.
"This is what madness feels like. And leaving me in that cage is only making it worse. Let me out of the prison you created for me. I'm an X-Man, not a monster. Just let me prove it!" Jubilee pleaded, turning to face Emma for the first time since she entered the room.
Emma looked the girl in the eyes. "You are not helping your cause by acting this way. You aren't the Jubilee I knew. I was hoping you could convince me otherwise."
Jubilee's expression grew cold. "And since I've disappointed you so much?" She paused. "What will you do with me?"
"Blade proposed –" Emma started but was cut off.
"I know what Blade proposed. I was there, maybe not entirely in my right mind at that moment, but I was there. You would stake your own student?" She said raising an eyebrow, her red eyes scrutinizing Emma.
Emma put her hands on her hips. "I gleaned your mind when we brought you back unconscious. You were beyond hope."
"Am I still?"
"You tell me."
Jubilee's features softened and she stood from the ground. "People change, Emma. I've changed, but that doesn't mean I've stopped trying. It's a battle, these demons in my head are probably more literal than most people think, and it's hard. I'm still an outcast where ever I go. But you just have to give me the chance."
Emma smiled slightly. "You've got a long way to go… but there is hope for you yet." She turned to leave.
"Where are you going?" Jubilee asked reaching out towards Emma.
"I've seen what I needed. It will take a lot of work… you'll have to be yet another project. But I've seen what I needed."
"Are you going to let me out of the cage then?" Jubilee said hopefully, a child like look gracing her face.
"Not yet, Dr. Rao has some theories she wants to test… we need to see how those work first. Like I said, it will take a lot of work."
And with that, Emma faded out.
Emma's eyes finally opened to see Scott standing over her looking concerned. "Emma, are you alright?"
Emma felt a bit sore, like some of the injuries she sustained in while in the dream world had actually been real. "Yes, dearest, I am fine. Stop coddling me."
He helped her up. "You looked like you were in pain a few times, you had me worried."
"I underestimated her… she definitely gave me a difficult time." She said staring at the still slumbering vampire in the cell.
"And what's your conclusion?" Scott said following her gaze.
"She's a piece of work. She's scared and angry, and quite possibly a bit unhinged. It will take a lot of work, but she wants to get better. If we can train her, and if Dr. Rao's proposed therapy works, then she is worth saving." She stated matter-of-factly.
Scott rubbed his chin in thought. "Will she be okay with that?"
Emma turned to walk away. "She'll have to be, if she wants out of that cage…"
So this was my X-Men fanfic. It takes place just after X-Men: Curse of the Mutants #6 and before Wolverine & Jubilee: Cursed #1. I have never written for Emma before so I hope she turned out alright. I want to thank my friends Brian, Elizabeth, and David for all their help and patience when listening to me ramble on about this story. And a big thanks to my husband, Jason, for helping me keep my facts straight.
For those of you wondering what's going on with Pitfalls of Madness… I do plan on eventually finishing it, but chapter 15 got lost in a computer crash and I've hit a brick wall on it anyway. I apologize for the excruciatingly long wait on it and thank you to everyone who has left kind words in the reviews section for that fic. :D